“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.
It breaks my heart to look back at my life three years ago. How I sat under good, biblical preaching, literally since age three and totally missed it blows my mind. It wasnt my Pastor’s fault, because he stood strong on Gods word. It wasnt my parents fault, because they constantly pressed the importance of having a relationship with Christ. The blame was totally mine and mine alone. I had ears to hear and eyes to see, but I was blinded by my own ignorance.
And now that Ive been given eyes to see, I see the same blindness that once afflicted me all around. I think back to the false perception of Christ I once had and think, “How in the world did I miss the truth?” The unchangeable truth that has been since the very beginning. And whats worse, Im not alone in this deception. So many people live their lives under a false hope. They live under a false image of Jesus. We fall into the trap of basing our committment to Christ on what other people in the church do, not on Christ.
There are so many happily singing hymns to Jesus through life while unknowingly walking on the broad road straight to Hell. Where did we get this idea that as long as we’ve been baptised and attend church on Sunday’s, that our ticket to glory has been punched? Where is this in scripture that God ultimately wants us happy, so because we are all sinners and God knows this, we are free to live in the vilest of sins under the banner that we serve a forgiving God? Adultery, homosexuality, sexual relations outside of marriage, slander,lying, drunkenness, and so many other sins are justified, because even though we know its wrong, we’ve been washed by the blood of the lamb. And every good Baptist believes the doctrine of “once saved, always saved.”
But we’ve only deceived ourselves. We’ve gravitated as a culture towards the more appealing attributes of Christ and ignored his characteristics that make us uncomfortable, or may cause us to abandon our sins. We’re quick to claim Christ is forgiving, but we easily dismiss his wrath. We love to quote passages about the love of God, but quickly skim over those that speak of self denial. Yes, once we have salvation in Christ, it cannot be lost. But true salvation breaks the chains of sin. There are so many the wallow in the sins of the world and love their chains. Its not a question of if salvation can be lost. The question many should ask is if they ever had it to begin with.
“Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with mennor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:6-10.
How could this verse read any clearer? But there are those who will shout, “Wait a minute. Jesus died on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins and his blood covers us!” Yes Jesus did serve as the sacrifice to pay for the sins of those who would believe upon him and repent. But this goes back to picking and chosing the attributes of Christ. We love to claim we believe in him as proof of our salvation. But what about repentance? Repentance is a total abandonment of the sins that we once clung to.
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,” Hebrews 10:26.
Can we claim the sacrifice of Christ over our sins and deliberately live a lifestyle of sin? The world would claim the blood of Christ and the power of forgiveness and say yes. But the word of God clearly says no. I wondered to myself where we got such an easy believeism mindset. So I set out to search the scriptures for evidence pointing to this image of Jesus so many seem to hold. And not one scripture did I find that states we are free to sin. I think we’ve missed that mark on two things. The first as I mentioned is a lack of repentance or understanding of what that looks like. The second is we have a misunderstanding of who the Holy spirit is in our lives.
Scripture clearly states that once a person truly comes to Christ, he or she is given the Holy Spirit that comes to live within them. As Ive stated in previous blogs, Holy in its original text is translated as meaning separate. So the true believer has a separate spirit within them. Separate from what? Separate from the ways of the world. The Lord is Holy. He is separate from the world because he and he alone is without sin.
“Since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16.
Does this mean that we are called to be sinless? Although we can never be sinless, we are to strive with everything in us to avoid sin and be conformed to Christ. We are to run from sin, not towards it. We are to hate sin, not find ways to justify it in our lives. God calls us to be Holy. To be seperate. God’s desire is for us not to sin. But we all fall short. We all sin at times. Its our nature. But in Christ, we are to strive to be Holy, not sinful. Some would use the excuse that we are all sinners and all fall short to justify living in sin. But the Lord says it is impossible to do this. Because we have a seperate spirit that we now live for.
When I was an early teenager, I wanted to be a professional bodybuilder. I was facinated with muscle men and being that big. So I dedicated myself to avoiding bad foods, and working out daily. Needless to say I never achieved that perfect body. But I did strive for it. Some of the workout routines I gave it my all and fell short sometimes. But instead of saying to myself, “Well I cant do it so Ill get a bowl of ice cream”, I began to train harder. I was frustraited when I fell short. Even dissapointed in myself. I looked at the areas of my training that I was weak in and focused on strengthening them. I learned from my training mistakes, I never excused myself to live in them. My shortcomings pushed me to be more disiplined.
Our Christian walk is very similar. Our sins should press us further into seeking Christ. We should strive to avoid them.
“Do you not know that love for the world is hatred towards God?” James 4:4.
1 John 2:4, “He who professes to know Him, and yet does not obey His commands, is a liar, and the truth has no place in his heart.”
Can you live in adultery, homosexuality, fornicate outside of marriage, drunkenness or slander others as a way of life and know Christ? Dont listen to what the world would tell you! Look at what the word of God says! All through out scripture, the Lord screams NO!!!! He warns our culture against being deceived in their sins thus never knowing him!!
Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
Colossians 3:10 says, “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
1 John 5:18 says, “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”
God is loving. God is forgiving. And he is the sacrifice for those as Mark 1:15 would state, who not only believe but also turn and repent! God repeated gives the picture of a follower of Christ as one of a new creation. Of being transformed from our old ways. Of being set free from a lifestyle of sin. And of receiving the Holy Spirit of God to live in them, making them run towards righteousness. And I ask again….how have so many missed this and so watered down the Gospel of Jesus?
Romans 1:25 speaks about how many will exchange the truth for a lie. It says that many will worship and serve the creature, (that being us), rather than the creator (God). There are those who will say with their lips that they worship Christ, but their actions of craving sin over his word prove that they worship their own desires and lusts. They are not children of God as they may claim, but as 1 John 3:5 says, “….children of the devil.”
Matthew 15:8, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
If we live in a continuous state of sin and seek after our own lustful, worldly desires over the commands of God then we do not know him, and we abide not in the love of God, but under his fiery wrath. 1 John tells us that he who loves God obeys his commands. Is your life following more of a path of holiness or worldliness? Do you love God? Your tounge will deceive you. What do your actions say? What does your lifestyle say? Take time to search the scriptures, and maybe see for the first time with your heart what your eyes have blindly seen all along.